Perasol hopes to see UP program continue with or without him as coach
MANILA, Philippines—Bo Perasol’s tenure as the head coach of University of the Philippines has been largely excellent.
Perasol took over the Fighting Maroons in Season 79 and catapulted the team to the title picture just two seasons later when they challenged Ateneo for the Season 81 championship.
After losing in the finals in 2018, UP nearly got back in the championship round but lost twice to University of Santo Tomas in the Season 82 stepladder semifinals, leaving Perasol uncertain of his future with the team.
“It really depends on the administration, and if you ask me I’d just want to rest and just watch games,” said Perasol in Filipino after the Fighting Maroons’ 68-65 loss to the Growling Tigers Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“I told them that whatever happens I hope that we should set a bar. We shouldn’t start from the bottom, we need to start from here, on top. The strength of our program shouldn’t be based on personality.”
Perasol said that UP should have a basketball program that resembles Ateneo or De La Salle, two schools that have remained powers in the UAAP no matter who the coaches or players are.
Coming into the season, UP was seen as one of the potential title-holders, boasting of a roster consisting of names any coach would want on his team.
Season 81 MVP Bright Akhuetie was the anchor in the paint with Kobe Paras, a former NCAA Division I recruit and member of the national team program, Season 80 Rookie of the Year Juan Gomez de Liaño, and one-time UAAP champion Ricci Rivero in tow.
The Fighting Maroons also had veteran Jun Manzo and valuable support players in Javi Gomez de Liaño and Janjan Jaboneta, but that collection of names failed to live up to the hype it produced.
“On hindsight, what I want to see is all the things we’ve achieved in the past four years,” said Perasol, who played for the Fighting Maroons from the late 80s to early 90s. “They saw it and I hope they appreciate it because it’s time to move on.”
It was a tough loss for UP, which had a four-point lead heading into the crucial stretch but gave the Growling Tigers enough space to snatch back the lead, 66-65, en route to the finals berth.
“I think what disappointed a lot in our community is by not being in the finals but we have to move forward on how we can bring this team back again to the championship round,” said Perasol. “We’re just one win away but we played against a very tough team.”
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